CLINTON — The Pleasant Valley boys swim team didn't have many athletes on top of the awards podium during Saturday's district swim meet at the Clinton Aquatic Center.
But the Spartans showed how much of a team sport swimming can be, rolling up numerous solid finishes to claim the district team championship. Pleasant Valley finished the meet with 415.5 team points to break second-place Bettendorf's three-year district title winning streak.
The Bulldogs had 396 team points followed by Davenport Central (325) and Muscatine (306.5).
Pleasant Valley senior Sam Lundry had the Spartans' only individual championship, winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 47.39 seconds. PV's other first place came from the relay team of Nathan McKay, Dylan Hartford, Alex Wong and Kevin Burke in the 200 freestyle relay (1:28.97).
Overall, Pleasant Valley will send participants to the state meet in Marshalltown in eight events. Bettendorf, which did win seven of the 11 events at districts, will have entrants in all the events at the state meet.
But the Spartans counted on their depth to win the overall day, garnering many third, fourth, fifth and sixth-place finishes. Many of those coming as teammates finished within one-to-two spots of each other.
"That's what got us the championship," Lundry said of his teammates who were in the second to even 10th-place range. "We're not a team that focuses around a core group of three or four guys. We're really deep and that is what has helped us all season.
"It is not the guy who is seeded first, it is the guy who is in the middle heat or the second-to-last heat and swimming in the outside lane. But those guys are just as important and that is where you can rack up the points."
There were plenty of those type of performances. Hartford just missed the state cut in the 200 freestyle but his sixth-place finish put 13 points in the Spartans' column. Vincent Gnad was in the same boat, missing out on state in the 200 individual medley but his seventh place finish chalked up another 12 points.
Mckay and Wong went third and fifth in the 50 freestyle, although neither qualified for state.
Nate Martell and Dominick Gnad went fifth and sixth in the butterfly while Jacob McCredie (9th) and Spencer Clark (11th) snagged points in the 100 freestyle. William Nash (4th in 500 freestyle) and Burke (2nd in backstroke) also made their contributions.
Lundry pointed out one particular swim from junior Austin Hedgren. Hedgren was in the slowest heat of the backstroke with no seed time. He wound up taking seventh and putting up 12 points for his team.
"Austin comes in with no seed time and he winds up in seventh place," Lundry said. "That's awesome. That's one of the big reasons we won."
Calen Aman led the Bulldogs' effort, winning the 200 IM and backstroke. He also led off the winning 200 medley relay team that upset Davenport Central who had the top time in the state. Aman, along with teammates Ryan Schade, Ben Luppen and Zach Bunn clipped the Blue Devils by .08 of second for the win. Aman also anchored the winning 400 freestyle relay team. Zach Bunn won the 100 and 200 freestyle for the Bulldogs.
Bettendorf sophomore Andrew Ottavianelli pulled the surprise performance of the meet. Ottavianelli was seeded sixth in the final heat of the 50 freestyle. But he shaved 1.39 seconds off his time to win the event in 22.10.
Bulldogs coach Mike Ahrens was happy with how his team performed but knew that PV could do something like this at a bigger meet. The Bulldogs and Spartans tied when they faced off in a dual a month ago.
"Like I said (at the dual), PV is deep and talented," Ahrens said. "I don't think we could have swam any better. Our top guys are set up for next week so we are going to drop time so for them to swim this fast today, they are competitors."
Andrew Shie of Davenport Central won the 100 breaststroke (58.97) and Muscatine freshman Daylon Shelangoski was first in the 100 butterfly (52.61).
State qualifiers by school
-200 indvidual medley relay, 200 and 400 freestyle relays, Sam Lundry (200 IM, 500 freestyle), William Nash (200 IM, 500 freestyle), Nathan McKay (100 freestyle), Kevin Burke (100 backstroke), Alex Wong (breaststroke), Jacob McCredie (100 breaststroke).
-200 individual medley, 200 and 400 freestyle relays, Zach Bunn (100, 200 freestyle), Caleb Aman (200 IM, backstroke), Andrew Ottavianelli (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Charlie Bunn (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Ryan Schade (200 IM, 100 breaststroke), Sam Mitvalsky (200 freestyle), Ben Luppen (100 butterfly), Ben Ketelaar (100 breaststroke)
-200 individual medley relay and 400 freestyle relay, Andrew Shie (100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Joseph Shie (200 IM, 100 backstroke), Devin Land (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Seth Land (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle), Charley Cummins (100 butterfly)
-200 and 400 freestyle relays, Daylon Shelangoski (100 butterfly, 200 IM), Isaac Heth (200 freestyle)